We’re three days into the third annual Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC), where the emirate’s residents are encouraged to complete at least 30 minutes of daily exercise over 30 consecutive days. Last year’s edition saw more than a million people participate, an increase of 34 per cent on 2017. “In 2018, we also tracked that 92 per cent of participants achieved their 30x30 target, 61 per cent of people went further and recorded 30 to 60 minutes in, while a further 10 per cent logged in over 90 minutes of daily activity,” adds Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), a subsidiary of Dubai Tourism, which is one of the government partners of the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DHA is another government partner).
DFC participants this year can benefit from health check-ups and fitness assessments across gyms and other facilities.
To give those figures some context, a Harvard Medical School study revealed that 30 minutes of brisk walking at 6.4kph will burn 167 calories in a 70kg person — about two thirds of a slice of cheese pizza.
Besides increasing participation, another DFC aim is to facilitate more productive shifts in lifestyle with longer-term health benefits, explains Al Khaja. One of the ways it has done this is through incorporating more health and wellness activities into the challenge’s offering — what Al Khaja calls a “more holistic approach” to fitness. “Recognising the importance of core elements such as nutrition and mental well-being to enhance all-round health, DFC participants this year can benefit from health check-ups and fitness assessments across gyms and other facilities.”
Besides a greater focus on general well-being, technology has also come to the fore at DFC. “DFC 2019 is introducing Find Your 30, a virtual platform on the official DFC website that provides a plethora of free-to-access content in a multitude of easy-to-digest formats, including articles, videos, features, blogs, vlogs, podcasts and daily challenges. It also serves as a convenient point of entry for anyone looking to start or enhance their fitness journey in a more personalised manner, while being another digital touchpoint to supplement the Dubai Fitness App.”
“The Dubai Fitness App has been designed to act as a daily fitness companion for participants to navigate their fitness journey by providing them access to free city-wide classes at their fingertips, helping them track their daily progress and allowing them to share their success on social media using the hashtag #Dubai30x30,” explains Al Khaja.
He says that 2018 saw a little over half of participants — 54 per cent — use the app on a daily basis. The Fitness App also highlights deals with DFC participating brands and lets users create social fitness groups.
The #Dubai30x30 hashtag was used more than 60,000 times over Instagram, Facebook and Twitter in 2018, says Al Khaja, “with a majority being user-generated content from participants looking to share their experiences, in a nod to the growing social nature of fitness”.
To find out more or to take part, visit Dubaifitnesschallenge.com or download the app, which is available on iOS and Android.